The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US (the CDC) has always been a network. It’s role is important and impressive. But can disease surveillance be accomplished in new ways?

An interesting site is, where people stricken by illnesses major or minor can register their conditions. Not every individual report is reliable, of course, and a commune of hypochondriacs could really distort the data, but it’s a pretty interesting mash-up.

A more robust map mash-up (HealthMap) from the Children’s Hospital Informatics Program in Boston follows the news, so the reports are more legitimate and well-described.

If widely adopted and used, these types of sites – both automated and social networked – could change how epidemiology occurs, and what we look at before we plan a trip (i.e., nervous about going to Fluville?).

Kent Anderson

Kent Anderson

Kent Anderson is the CEO of RedLink and RedLink Network, a past-President of SSP, and the founder of the Scholarly Kitchen. He has worked as Publisher at AAAS/Science, CEO/Publisher of JBJS, Inc., a publishing executive at the Massachusetts Medical Society, Publishing Director of the New England Journal of Medicine, and Director of Medical Journals at the American Academy of Pediatrics. Opinions on social media or blogs are his own.